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Fatal Glass of Beer


Published 1933


Comedy short featuring W.C. Fields.

You can find more information regarding this film on its IMDb page.


Producer Mack Sennett
Production Company Sennett Pictures Corporation
Audio/Visual sound, b&w


Reviews

Reviewer: Dr Feel Rotten - - October 29, 2010
Subject: strange film
Other than the obvious parodies there isn't really much particularly funny here till the last scene where Ma and Pa toss our the kid Chester for not keeping the loot he stole. That makes the entire film and without it it would be a complete and utter flop in every sense of the word
Oh wait..I just gave away the "plot".. Well, unread this so you can remain on the edges of your seats then rewatch it all again on some blustery night when it's not fit out for man nor beast.
Reviewer: patt17 - - January 22, 2010
Subject: A couple more comic details to watch for
Can't add much to the appreciative comments here, but here's a couple more delightfully funny little gestures Fields makes that further illustrate his comic genius: When he's "playing" the autoharp (or whatever it's supposed to be) with his mitts on, as the music continues, he raises his hand in the air briefly to illustrate the story he's telling. As the music continues, he "realizes" he's supposed to have that hand on the instrument, and quickly starts to "use" the other hand. Later, as he paces back and forth to dramatic sounding music, he pauses ever so briefly near a "broken" window pane for another quick painted cornflake toss. Great, great fun.
Reviewer: babe917 - - December 21, 2009
Subject: LOL
i havent seen that much of fields except for the classic he did with mae west, but i always wanted 2 see more of him! this movie was hilarious!! i loved all of it!
Reviewer: clevelander - - December 2, 2007
Subject: Funny Stuff!
This is probably Fields' most bizarre film, a short that is putting you on all the way.

It is a parody of some of the bad, stilted films of the era, and--if you understand this fact--the film is hilarious.

Highlights: The running gag, where Fields looks out the door and remarks "it ain't a fit night out for man nor beast!" only to be hit in the face with a handful of fake snow, obviously thrown unconvincingly by a stagehand. Also: Fields riding his sleigh in the snow against the phoniest back projection in the history of motion pictures.
When get gets some of the blowing snow in his mouth, he spits it out and says "tastes more like cornflakes" (which is exactly what it was!).
Reviewer: buddhabeta - - May 30, 2007
Subject: pleasantly surprised
my first fields film. can't wait to check out more.very funny.
Reviewer: philmfan - - December 16, 2006
Subject: A Great Document of Comedy
I really do not understand the charges of "corny" and "cornball" being leveled at this short. Fatal Glass of Beer parodies the "cornball," this is a source of many of its jokes. Literally everything in this short is a joke. Made just a few years out of the silent era and it's already parodying many of the story elements from that era - the simple, moralistic stories, the stiffness, the preaching, even the technical side of the silents (specifically, the flashback scene where the "fatal glass" is imbibed, the action is sped up and the movements exaggerated) is parodied, which for the time this was made was quite sophisticated. Myself, I try to evaluate things for the era they hail from, in context, rather than completely from my own era (which will appear silly one day soon itself). In actual fact, this happens to be perhaps the most perfect of Fields' shorts. Of course, the Gold Specialist and The Dentist both have great bits, but the gags dominated, while Fatal Glass of Beer has more of a sense of structure. I see a lot of the key elements of 20th century humor in this short. It's not mere jokes, it makes fun of speaking patterns, language, technical elements, society, is absurd, and so on. I think you can go back to this one short and almost pinpoint it as one of the pivotal points in the history of comedy in the last century. And the bit with the snow (which Fields brings to our attention is just painted cornflakes) in his face and that classic line - "T'aint a fit night out for man nor beast" - is just great. It's crazy, it's inventive, it brings to our attention the fakeness of everything at the same time as it parodies the stiff language often found in types of fiction the short plays off of. And that last little bit - did anyone catch that subtle bit of comedy? After going to the door, saying that line, and getting a handful of cornflakes thrown in his face (obviously by someone just off stage, which again illustrates how this short parodies cheap, stilted stage tricks) throughout the entire short, Fields says it one last time, waits a second for the inevitable handful of flakes, but it never comes. However, he still expects it to come and just before the picture fades he flinches. HE FLINCHES! It's just so, so tiny a gesture, so small and seemingly insignificant a joke, yet it's also hilarious and something I believe only a comedic genius would come up with. What do you want, pies? What do you want, cartoony bouncing off of walls? What do you want, erudite, sophisticated comedy done in a foreign language? No, that final, tiny moment IS comedy. And who can resist some of those great lines (I recall no great lines in an y other Fields short), like "The city ain't no place for women, gal, but pretty men go thar" and "Once the cihity gets in a bhoy's shystem, he lhoses his hankerin' for the chountry"? And that absurd, insane song! Were you listening? Again, technical methods are parodied. The actor is not playing the instrument for real - it's fake - so it doesn't matter that he plays with his "mits" on, the sound still comes out. And the way they speak in that, and all other, scenes, I do not recall ANY earlier example of comedy where they so thoroughly parody and utilize speech patterns and acting styles. Fatal Glass of Beer is not only a parody of the silent era's stiff tendency (watch any moralistic film starring Lilian Gish for reference, where all manner of absurd tragedies befall the hapless heroine) it is also a homage, in part, to the silent Sennet comedies, in that it was made in the sound era but uses elements of the silent. W.C. Fields was a comedic genius, but most, if not all, of his films - both short and long - were disappointing overall, a showcase for a few hilarious bits, but suffering the same thing that a lot of comedies from the era (and all subsequent eras) suffer from - namely, the problem of how to be both a funny comedy and a genuine film that tells an actual story with characters who are not merely mouth-pieces for jokes. Fatal Glass of Beer, in that it is a short film, is relieved of that burden for the most part, so the "flaws" it may have are inconsequential, in fact, they are totally understandable. This short stands with Fields best features for this fact alone.
Reviewer: 1&9s - - October 21, 2006
Subject: Dry Wit.
What joy,one of the funniest things that I have seen for ages! W C Fields dry wit and dead-pan delivery were hilarious. The sight-gags added to the fun and the ending fitted perfectly.

'They don't make them like that anymore'.

Well done I.A. for preserving this gem for posterity.

Greetings and best wishes from England.
Reviewer: BoMaGoSh Yndit - - July 7, 2006
Subject: Hilarious film
This is a real gem. The film is a parody of the melodramas of the time, and the "cornball" scenes and dialogue was intended, clearly, to make fun of these cornball melodramas. Fields is absolutely the master here, and his later film persona is already evident in this early film. Definitely worth watching!
Reviewer: b11761500s - - March 2, 2006
Subject: Fatal Glass of Beer (1934)
Excellent early W.C. Fields and well worth looking at. It is far fetched, corny, short, and very enjoyable.
Reviewer: Zodiac496 - - February 27, 2006
Subject: Pretty funny..
I am somewhat of a fan of ol W.C. and this one of his more cheezy films. I thought a few things were overcooked but I still really enjoyed this movie. I think that you would enyjoy it as well.
Reviewer: Donavan Blue - - December 29, 2005
Subject: Hilarious Comedy
This is a funny, funny movie. Cornball in spots, but that just makes it funnier. Ignore the overacting in the first few minutes, and watch it to the end. Also some great scenic shots.
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